For many businesses, choosing a green energy supplier is the quickest way to immediately reduce your carbon emissions and get started on the path to net zero. But whether it’s your own business or you’re an energy broker working to get your client the best deal, finding a truly green gas supplier isn’t always easy. To ensure that the contract you end up with is genuinely in line with the climate goals of the business, there are three things you need to look into; use our quick checklist to guide you.
Are they transparent about the proportion of green gas in the mix?
Biomethane gas can be described as green because it is produced from the decomposition of organic waste. This might be food waste being broken down in an anaerobic digester or captured gas from decaying waste in landfill. Either way, it is carbon neutral because it is part of a cycle whereby the organic matter absorbs greenhouse gases as it grows and gives them off when it decays, and these balance each other out. But in the UK, the amount of biomethane gas produced is not enough to cover even 1% of demand for gas. There simply isn’t enough to go round, and any legitimate supplier should be transparent about this fact. Good Energy is upfront about the fact that UK-sourced biomethane makes up 10% of the gas we buy and sell on. This is a higher proportion than most suppliers offer in their green gas mix.
The different types of offsetting
Most suppliers with green gas tariffs are using offsetting projects in order to market their gas as green. This is a perfectly valid approach, given that the UK doesn’t produce enough biomethane for all suppliers to meet demand. But the type of offsetting scheme is absolutely crucial. Some suppliers will invest in projects that sound green, such as planting forests or building solar panels. There is nothing wrong with schemes like this, but they aren’t helping to create new sources of green gas, so years ago Good Energy moved on from this type of offsetting.
Now Good Energy takes a more targeted approach: our offsetting means investing directly in new sources of green gas overseas. For every unit of offset green gas you buy from us, we pay for the generation of a new unit of green gas somewhere in the world.
What other gas tariffs are they offering?
This may seem like a strange question if you are only interested in green gas, but exploring this will give you an idea of the supplier’s true brand values. If they are offering a “regular” as well as a green gas tariff, this suggests that they see green energy as simply another menu item to offer customers, rather than a core part of their offering. If your business is working hard to reach net zero emissions because you understand the reality of the climate threat, why would you choose a supplier who sees low-carbon energy as just one of many options?
If they do offer a choice of tariffs, it is also revealing to compare the price of the “regular” (environmentally unsustainable) tariff versus the price of the green gas tariff. Are they punishing customers for having net zero goals by charging them a lot more?
Good Energy doesn’t offer a choice of gas tariffs, because we’re not going to compromise on our values. We simply try to offer green gas at the best possible price.
Sourcing a genuinely sustainable gas supply for your business means doing your research, but our three questions will help you sort through the greenwash and find the right supplier.